Gulfstream’s G700 Advances Toward 2022 Service Entry
Unveiled in 2019 during the last NBAA-BACE in-person gathering, the Gulfstream G700 remains on track for first customer deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2022, the manufacturer reports.
Six aircraft are participating in the G700 certification flight-test program, including a fully outfitted jet that Gulfstream recently flew to Doha, Qatar, and Le Bourget, France, to showcase to the international market. Qatar Executive, the private jet charter division of Qatar Airways Group, is a G700 launch customer.
The P1S6 production-representative, Serial Number 6 jet broke city-pair speed records flying to Doha from Gulfstream headquarters in Savannah, Georgia, and to Le Bourget from Doha, while using a 30% sustainable aviation fuel blend on both legs.
In mid-September, Gulfstream executives briefed a select group of reporters on the status of the G700 program and hosted a tour of the P1S6 aircraft, which is dedicated to cabin interior testing, during a visit to the manufacturer’s facilities at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.
The G700 will be the largest of Gulfstream’s large-cabin jets, poised to compete against the recently unveiled Dassault Falcon 10X and Bombardier’s in-service Global 7500. Powered by twin Rolls-Royce Pearl turbofans, each producing 18,250 lb. of thrust, the G700 will fly to a maximum range of 7,500 nm at Mach 0.85 with eight passengers, four crew and NBAA IFR fuel reserves. Gulfstream has quoted a list price of $78 million for the G700 with completed cabin.
The G700’s advertised range of 7,500 nm is the same as for the Gulfstream G650ER on which it is based. The jets share the same cabin cross-section dimensions (6 ft., 3 in. high; 8 ft., 2 in. wide), but the G700’s cabin length, excluding baggage space, is 10 ft. longer and features two additional wide-oval cabin windows (20 total). The G700 has a 4-ft. wider wingspan (103 ft.) but a lower tail height than the G650—good for operators with hangar-door issues, says Gulfstream. France’s Daher produces the jet’s new high-performance winglets.
The G700 branches away from the G650 and extends a new generation of jets that started with the G500/G600, which introduced Gulfstream’s Symmetry flight deck, based on Honeywell Primus Epic avionics, and embedded data concentration network.
Developed by GE Aviation from the core computing system on the Boeing 787, the data concentration network hosts avionics and other systems using multiple communications protocols on an ARINC 664-standard Ethernet backbone. The network will be a “common theme” of Gulfstream jets going forward.
“The nice thing about the 700 is that most of what is in the airplane we have done before,” said Scott Neal, Gulfstream senior vice president of worldwide sales. “It’s the best of a couple of worlds: It takes all the best of the G650 from a performance and a fuselage capability and it combines them with all the new technologies of the 500/600 into a new package with a much larger interior.”
Gulfstream’s G500, which entered service in September 2018, debuted the Symmetry flight deck with active control sidesticks. Originally developed by BAE Systems for fly-by-wire military aircraft, the active inceptors, or control sticks, in the G700 are electronically linked between pilot seats and provide both pilots with simultaneous tactile and visual feedback to control inputs.
The sidesticks are active in that dual redundant motors drive their movement in each axis; in passive mode, tactile feedback comes from dampers and springs. The inceptors can be programmed by an aircraft’s manufacturer to various parameters.
“If you think about the flight deck as a whole, it is our office, it’s our living room, it’s our dining room for over 15 hours on this airplane, so you want space,” said Scott Evans, Gulfstream director of flight operations. “One of the ways to do that without making the airplane bigger was to go to sidesticks. They remove the column and yoke, they reduce weight, maintainability gets easier, and reliability is higher because there are few components. There is no occlusion of the forward displays, so you don’t have to worry about that from a certification perspective.”
The G500 was also the first business jet to obtain FAA authorization for pilots to land in degraded visibility conditions by using only the enhanced vision system (EVS) imagery on its left-seat head-up display (HUD). Gulfstream’s EVS III system uses a nose-mounted Elbit Kollsman infrared camera that sends imagery to the Collins Aerospace HUD, presenting the enhanced scene on the combiner glass in the pilot’s forward field of vision.
The G700 ushers in combined vision—the integration of enhanced vision with a synthetic database of approaching terrain, obstacles, runways and facilities—and will come with dual Collins Aerospace HUDs as standard equipment.
“The synthetic version of it is meant to be for your strategic planning,” said Evans. “That was one of the big things we wanted to make sure we got right—the right level of synthetic vision versus the outside world, because at the end of the day that database is only as good as the last time it was published. We wanted to make sure [pilots see] new towers or airplanes moving on the ramp—that’s where the combined vision comes in. Now you have the strategic environment and the tactical environment that EVS brings, the actual real world outside.”
During an interview on the spacious flight deck, Evans pointed out numerous functions of the Symmetry suite, which features 10 pilot-facing touchscreen displays: four Honeywell 13.1-in. primary-flight displays (PFDs) and multifunction displays, two touchscreen controllers on the outboard side of each pilot, two touchscreen controllers on the pedestal, and two standby instruments mounted under the glareshield. Showing on the PFDs was an exocentric view from up and behind the aircraft, providing the pilots with a peripheral view of the G700 as it moves. An overhead Korry Electronics touchscreen control panel is for main utility systems, including the auxiliary power unit.
“We [designed] a common flight deck when we started this; not just for the 500 and 600—it was for the entire family,” said Evans. “We knew we were going to use this flight deck generationally as we move forward because we wanted that family interface that we could use between different models.”
The G700 cabin will accommodate up to 19 passengers in four living areas with a crew-rest compartment, says Gulfstream, which designs and builds its own interiors. The manufacturer will offer several different galley and aft-cabin configurations for the new jet.
The G700 cabin will be quieter than the G650’s, which has a noise level of “under 50 dB,” and will have a “feels like” cabin altitude of 2,916 ft. at FL410 (compared to 3,280 ft. for the G650), and 100% fresh instead of recirculated air, says Gulfstream.
“Everything in here has been redesigned from the G650, whether it’s the new ledge, the new seats, new lighting systems, lower cabin altitude,” said Neal. “That’s a real exciting update of the G700, the cabin altitude—it’s been lowered to the lowest cabin altitude in all of business aviation.”